While the real-life version of Tony Stark may be concentrating on building electric cars and sending us to Mars, others are trying to turn his Iron Man suit into reality. Today, Hyundai announced (link in Korean) that it was working on a robotic exoskeleton suit, which it compared to an Iron Man suit, Korean news outlet Yonhap reported.
The Korean car company has built a suit that people can strap themselves into that will assist them with walking or carrying heavy objects. According to Yonhap, it can help someone pick up objects that weigh 60kg (about 132lbs), although Hyundai didn’t say whether it had built-in rocket jets or if it could shoot energy beams from its hands. In photos, it looks more like something that belongs in the film Aliens than anything that might have appeared in a Marvel movie.
“This wearable robot that we are developing for commercial purposes will be used in diverse areas,” Hyundai told Yonhap. “Such a robot development is in line with Hyundai Motor Group’s vision for free mobility of people and things.”
The suit is apparently an update to the H-LEX (Hyundai Lifecaring ExoSkeleton) suit it debuted last year, according to The Verge, which could have applications both in the military, and on factory floors. Hyundai was not immediately available to comment on when its robot suits would be available to the public.
Korea, like other developed countries, has a growing aging population. Suits like Hyundai’s could help older people stay in the workforce longer. Japan has a similar dilemma and companies like Panasonic are working on robo-systems that could increase the mobility of the increasingly immobile.
Whether any company is working on vibranium shields, suits that shrink people to the size of ants, or forming a league of superhuman avengers to fight evil, though, remains a mystery.